In many ways, the reason I make jewelry goes back to my relationship with my grandmother, whom I called Nana when she was alive. I spent hours rifling through her jewelry collection as a girl, and anytime I created anything, she was the first person I would share my creation with.
She believed I could do anything, and loved everything I did. She gave me confidence and unconditional love, and these are gifts that can’t be bought with money. They can only be given with attention and love for another.
I miss her every day.
This year, my mother gifted me with the above frame, with Nana in the center, me on the left and my mother on the right. These photos were all taken when the three of us were around the same age. We looked alike then, and as I get older, I see my mother’s face as well as Nana’s in my own every morning in the mirror. It makes sense that we would age the same being as we have such similar facial structure.
Being homebound due to the ice and snow, I have been left to my own devices as far as entertaining myself. My studio is no longer where I live, so there is nothing related to jewelry that I can work on directly other than updating my website and ordering some supplies that I need to finish off Christmas orders over the next two weeks. So, I’ve been quiet and reflective. And I’ve been writing. A lot.
My grandparents lived in an old house in downtown New Albany, Indiana. I loved visiting them, and wandering around their house filled with antiques and oddities was one of my favorite things to do as a girl. It was comfortable in a way that modern life wasn’t. Even as a girl, I recognized that the things at home, with their modern lines and features designed for convenience felt wrong to me somehow. I’ve always appreciated the old and antique, and can’t quite bring myself to purchase anything new furniture-wise except in bed mattresses and couches.
I’ve got a Kindle and find it useful for reading in bed when Shayne wants to snooze without a light on, as well as for traveling. But try as I might, I can’t quite come to the place where I prefer it over a good book. We have tried to whittle down our book collection over the years, but it seems to grow anyway. A few weeks ago, we decided to purchase an early Christmas present to ourselves–a bookcase to house our expanding book collection that was beginning to metastasize into our bedroom and living room.
So I started looking for an antique store and found one here in Fayetteville that has to be one of the very best I have ever been to. Long Ago Antiques is like being in a Harry Potter movie– this antique store looked deceptively small and was hiding in plain sight. Once I opened up the door, however, I was transported into room after room of 50 years of antique collecting. I think the first time I went in, three hours passed by in a wink.
The second trip involved taking Shayne and we left a few hours later with two bookcases, not one!
Old furniture was made so much better than the pressboard stuff you find in most furniture stores these days. Both of these pieces are pushing 100 years, although I think the first one may be even older. Nana had a bookcase that was similar to the second one, the top shelf filled with perfume bottles that she had collected for years. I think we will just continue to fill this one up with more books!
But my love for antiques reflects my desire for quality. I like being surrounded by things that can withstand whatever life throws at them. The patina of age is a value that I try and put into my jewelry. It’s about trusting that something will hold up to the test of time. I think it involves aspects of unconditional love…knowing that no matter what age does to my face or body, that I am still valuable. Or even more valuable because of it.
My brother just bought a new home, and I took him over to Long Ago Antiques last week to look around. Again, we spent hours in there looking at all the furniture as well as going down memory lane as we found things that my grandparents had in New Albany that we always took for granted. As we were both descending the staircase after exploring an upstairs room, it hit us that my grandmother had a very similar staircase too. And for a brief moment, I was 12 and he was 10, and we were going downstairs to eat a breakfast of sausage and eggs that Nana used to treat us with during our visits.
It was a bittersweet moment.
When Nana passed away, my mother asked me if there was anything that I wanted from her estate. There was…and this desk was it.
This old desk was my sanctuary when I spent time at my grandmother’s house in the summers. I have always loved to write and draw, and this desk was situated behind my grandfather’s rocking chair in the old house. In the evenings, while my grandparents watched the news and whatever boring adult shows they enjoyed, I would sit at this desk and pretend I was a great writer as I scribbled away in my diary or notebook of choice. There are a few ink stains, too, where I spilled some India Ink during one of my stints of trying to learn calligraphy.
My father and I refinished this desk a few years ago when I was living in East Tennessee. After his heart attack, it was a welcome project for the both of us to work on as he recovered his confidence about life.
This desk makes me feel good when I sit in front of it. I feel my grandmother’s love and acceptance here, too. I feel seen, heard and understood here.
While homebound due to the ice and snow, I have been using it to write as I explore what my current desires are while working out of Danielle Laporte’s book, The Desire Map. This is the sacred space where my past and my future meet in the miraculous now.
Love that…and here is another video showcasing the power of desire-mapping.